LeadingAge New York Annual Conference 2017 June 2017 - Page 9

Gardens, Making Life Better By Kathie Kane In almost every garden, the land is made better and so is the gardener. ~ Robert Rodale Culinary activities are rated as one of the top items desired by residents in senior living communities. Not surprising, we plan our lives around our meals. It seems that we finish one meal and start thinking about what we want to eat at the next. Sound familiar? Communities need to consider opportunities to engage people in the dining experience. In a session called Garden to Table: Creating Memorable Culinary Experiences Through Resident Involvement, the presentation was led by John Kennedy, CDM, director of dining services, Flik Lifestyles Foulkeways Continuing Care Retirement Community, Gwyned, PA; Jack Carman, FASLA, RLA, president, Design for Generations, LLC, Medford, NJ; and Todd Burge, senior executive chef, Flik Lifestyles, Troy. Participants learned first-hand about the garden to table process when Chef Todd served a fresh salad of lettuces and herbs grown and picked that day. As people savored every bite, John Kennedy and Jack Carman shared ideas and options on how members can engage staff and residents in the growing, planning and preparing of meals. They reminded us to look beyond the walls and out into the open spaces surrounding our communities for dining and garden opportunities such as outdoor eating areas, bistros and coffee bars. These destination areas can also be used in marketing approaches, as social areas for guests, and as meeting places for people from the community. Attendees were reminded that gardens can spring up in small or large spaces and they have the potential to enhance the lives of everyone. The key to a successful garden is having realistic expectations during the planning phase. Start small and you can “grow” the size of your garden based on the interest of residents. It isn’t just the pride residents have when they grow and share their food, it’s the sense of purpose and connection with nature they gain during the process. Some on-site gardens can even be opened to local neighbors in the area. Participation from offsite people enhances outreach to potential residents and families. The residents of the future are looking for lifestyle not just a roof over their heads. You must plan now for them. As for the residents in your facility, if you want to find a way to improve their appetite, health and overall enjoyment – plant a garden and see what grows. For more information on how to start or expand a garden at your facility contact Jack Carman, jack@designforgenerations.com; John Kennedy, JohnKennedy@Fliklifestyles.com; or Chef Todd Burge, ToddBurge@Fliklifestyles.com. Leadership in Action by Sarah Daly (2016-2017 IGNITE Leadership Academy Graduate) A “leader” is often defined as an individual who commands a group or institution. However, Fellows that have graduated from LeadingAge New York’s IGNITE Leadership Academy have learned that leaders can hold a variety of different roles and that being a leader means tackling that role holistically; including having a strong understanding of self, the ability and desire to be collaborative, a mindset primed for innovative thinking and embracing work-life balance. The Ideas You Can Use: Leadership Academy Projects Panel session at the 2017 LeadingAge New York Annual Conference and Exposition dove into the Active Learning Projects (ALPs) of several Leadership Academy graduates. The panel represented a wide range of jobs such as directors of operations, HR coordinators and administrators and, for some, represented their first public engagement where they were positioned as a leader for their organization. The graduates spoke proudly of the projects they brought back to their organizations following their Leadership Academy graduation. They explained that understanding themselves as leaders began with the realization that a “leader” can be anyone who seeks to improve themselves, their peers and their environment. While the panel offered